Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Cipriani pizzeria to change name after alleged breach of trademark

A new Belfast pizzeria whose Italian owner says he named his restaurant after reading about England rugby player Danny Cipriani, has been taken to task by a world famous Venice hotel.

Sicilian native Salvatore Liberante said he unwittingly copied the name of the luxury Hotel Cipriani and will now change it.

The Cipriani restaurant on Belfast’s busy Lisburn Road has agreed to rebrand itself in a bid to resolve a High Court action over an alleged breach of trademark.

Proceedings were brought against the owners of the Lisburn Road eaterie by the Venetian hotel. Lawyers for the favourite destination of royalty, movie stars, politicians and celebrities, wanted a prohibition on the restaurant using the same name.

They had sought an injunction on the basis that it was flouting a Europe-wide trademark.

But Mr Liberante, the businessman behind the restaurant which only opened in the summer, has instead given a series of undertakings.

Within four days the restaurant is to stop using the name, a judge was told.

A proposal to change two letters to make a new name of Sipriano has been put forward for consideration by the hotel.

Other undertakings include the destruction of all menus, advertisements, internet pages and other materials bearing the plaintiff's trademark.

An online domain name for Cipriani pizzeria is also to be transferred over.

Barrister David Dunlop, appearing for the hotel, confirmed all these steps were to be completed within three weeks.

Adjourning the case until then, Mr Justice Horner stressed the need for the defendants to comply with the terms agreed.

He said: “If they are breached they are liable to be sent to jail or to be fined, so it is obviously important.”

Outside the court Mr Liberante expressed his shock at the proceedings.

The well-known restaurateur, whose previous ventures in Befast include Speranza and Antica Roma, claimed the England rugby star had inspired the name for his new eating house.

“During the summer when I was looking for a name there was a lot of write-ups about Danny Cipriani, and I just liked the name,” he said.

“When I looked on the internet there was nobody in Ireland or the UK using it.

“I had no idea that they had changed the law regarding copyright and European trademarks, I always thought it was first come, first served.”

Mr Liberante accepted he has no choice other than to make the name change.

“The law is the law,” he added.

“But it is really remarkable that somebody in Venice has got the power over us in Northern Ireland over a name.

“I have agreed to change two letters, hopefully that will be the close of the dispute.

“I can't really see anybody in Venice being affected by the fact there is a Sipriano in Belfast.”

At this stage it appears there is no “dough” involved in the settlement.

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